cupcake project | 10: devil’s food cupcakes.

What is Christmas without chocolate?

Wait, let me rephrase that… What is a day without chocolate?

It’s going to be boring, I bet.

When my Tito Bunnie asked me to bring cupcakes for Christmas dinner, I immediately knew what I was going to bring – red velvets and devil’s food cupcakes. It sounded like the most logical thing to do. Well, for me at least. ;)

When you search Google for “devil’s food cupcakes,” it would give a loooot of recipes. And I mean helluva lot. I’ve already posted a recipe here, taken from David Lebovitz, but since I am me, and I don’t stop searching for recipes I could try… Yeah, you guessed it. I found another recipe. And it’s just one of the best devil’s food cupcakes recipes I’ve tried.

This new recipe is from Zoe Francois, I have been semi-stalking her blog for a few months now and when I saw the title “Not Your Average Devil’s Food Cupcakes,” I knew I just had to try it out.

And I’m not looking back. I think I’ve found the “one.” I’ve baked them six times in one month. ;P

It’s moist and delectable. My family couldn’t stop eating them. Ahh. That’s the best compliment a baker can have.

With Vanilla Buttercream
With vanilla buttercream
Curious yet?


cupcake project | 09: red velvet cupcakes for christmas.

Happy Christmas, everyone! :)


How’d you guys spend Christmas?

Our family has Christmas traditions that I haven’t “followed” since I started working. When I was younger, we would go to Manila to spend Christmas with my Dad’s clans from the father and mother’s side.

We usually have Christmas eve lunch with the Jaranillas – my grandpa’s side. I haven’t joined Christmas lunch in a very long time since I usually have work during the holidays. I know, sucks to be me, right? LOL.

This year, we had Christmas dinner instead. I travelled through EDSA on Dec 24th – it was such a pain in the a** having to take the bus. They take forever!

Christmas dinner was spent at my Tito’s “new” house in Alabang. I said “new” cos it used to be my Lolo and Lola’s house (my Dad’s parents) and when they both passed away, the siblings put the property up for sale. My Tito Bunnie, Dad’s brother, bought the house and had it renovated. It looks so different now – more spacious and airy. I failed to take photos, though. Hehe.

Anyway, Christmas dinner was great. All families brought their share. I did, too! I brought Devil’s Food  and Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Christmas eve was spent at the Fort, at my Tita Yolly’s house/condo in the Pacific Plaza. We had drinks and a few pica-pica.

C360_2011-12-25 00-25-07
Our chosen poison. ;)
Christmas is all about tradition in my family. There are just some food that can’t go missing during the holidays – Lola Ems’ American Lumpia, Del Monte’s Ham (the BESSSSSSST!), Arroz Caldo, Castanas, and Turkey, to name a few.

And I guess I’ll start my own tradition – Red Velvet! I finally found the best recipe. ;) I used two recipes – one from Betty Crocker and the other from Joy the Baker. :)

Moist and surprisingly wonderful.


Typhoon Sendong and a Call for HELP.

It’s almost Christmas.

While most Filipinos are completing their Christmas shopping over the weekend, many of our Filipino brothers and sisters suffered the wrath of what could probably be the strongest and deadliest typhoon in the world Philippines this year – Sendong. It is said that it's worse than typhoon Ondoy.

Among hardest hit was my hometown, Cagayan de Oro.

I was not completely aware of the impending typhoon that was about to hit the Philippines last weekend. On Friday, I called in sick as I was having severe menstrual cramps and bleeding – let’s not get to the details. At around 3:00 AM on Saturday, I saw Melissa’s, a childhood friend, Facebook post asking if there’s anyone she can contact in Manila or any government agency to help her family who is stranded in the midst of fast-rising floodwater. I started to panic, my Tita lived within the same baranggay. I checked on PAG-ASA’s website and found out that the storm was somewhere northwest of CDO. I initially shrugged it off and went to bed.

When I woke up the following morning, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with not-so-good updates on the state of our beloved city.

I immediately called my Mom, but her phone was unattended. Panic started to grow. I tried calling my brother, thankfully, he picked up. My family was spared, their only issue was power and water outage. While our house was not hit by the ravaging floods, my Tita Liza (who is more like a second Mom to me and one of my Mom’s closest sisters) and her family lost everything they have to the flood. They have not been able to get in touch with any of my Tita’s family until around 7:00 PM.

My family is safe. Thank God – that’s a reason to celebrate for us. We celebrate because God kept my family safe.

But there are more Kagay-anons who have not been able to survive… Or are still trying to pick up the pieces.

For us who have been spared, it’s but fitting to pitch in our share – in cash or in kind. If you have old clothes, mats, blankets, towels, drinking water, rice, just about anything that you’d like to donate, they’d be very welcome.
In-kind donations can be sent thru the following:
  • Any JRS Express branch nationwide for free delivery. You may also contact 02.631.7351 to 56 for assistance.
  • Aboitiz and Negros Navigation have ships ready to transport emergency/relief goods and equipment bound for Cagayan de Oro / Iligan. For bulk items, bring directly to Abotiz/Negros Navigation, Pier 2, Manila. Call 02.211.5484 for more information.
  • For those who are near UP Diliman / Quezon City area, you may drop off your donations at Moon Leaf Tea Shop (@moonleafteashop) along Maginhawa Street in UP Village.

Cash donations can be sent to:
Account Name: Xavier University
Account Number: 9331 0133 63
BPI CDO – Divisoria Branch
Those who wish to receive receipts for their donations may email finance@xu.edu.ph with the following details for proper acknowledgement:
  • Donor’s Name
  • Receiving Branch
  • Date
  • Amount

Philippine Red Cross also accepts donations through Cebuana Lhuillier:
  • Donations are accepted in any of the 1,500 Cebuana Lhuillier pawnshops nationwide.
  • For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. 02.527.0575 or 02.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.
Bank Deposits:
Banco De Oro (Swift Code: BNORPHMM)
Peso: 00-453-0018647
Dollar: 10-453-0039482  
Bank of the Philippine Islands (Swift Code: BOPIPHMM)
Peso: 4991-0036-52
Dollar: 004994-0103-15 
Metrobank (Swift Code: MBTCPHMM)
Peso: 151-3-041631228
Dollar: 151-2-15100218-2 
Philippine National Bank (Swift Code: PNBMPHMM)
Peso: 3752 8350 0034
Dollar: 3752 8350 0042 
Unionbank of the Philippines (Swift Code: UNPHPHMM)
Peso: 1015 4000 0201
Dollar: 1315 4000 0090 

For those who are in Cagayan de Oro, my Mom's school will be having a soup kitchen today at 8 AM at Calacal, Tibasak, Macasandig. They would be feeding around 200 people and will be giving medicines for cough, colds, fever, etc. For those who are within the area, please feel free to drop by. Donations are also accepted.
PROCARE Foundation
Vamenta Compound, Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro
(in front of Macasandig Barangay Hall / beside Corpus Christi High School)
Contact # 08822 714553

A little help can go a long way. A little help can save someone’s life.

*** Sharing is caring – please feel free to share to share this information to your friends.


cupcake project | 08: bibingka cupcakes.

I have been quiet (in my blog, at least) for quite some time, yes?

It’s one of those times where in I have a lot to do, and so little time to do them all. That kind of sucks the life out of me, really. But I’ve recently learned to give myself a break from time to time – and break, I did – from blogging. Heh.

Let me give you a rundown of what happened during my so-called “hiatus.”
Those are just a few stuff…

Today, in the spirit of Christmas, I’ve made bibingka – a rice cake very popular here in the Philippines. It’s traditionally made of glutinous rice or rice flour and cooked over “live” coals. My version was more like bibingka cupcakes made with all-purpose flour.

It tasted so much like the traditional bibingka. I loved it, but I could use some changes in the recipe. It lacked the smokiness of the traditional bibingka, and I didn’t have coconut and salted eggs on hand. But despite the hitches, it definitely cured my cravings.


oatmeal walnut cookies.

"It gets better everyday," that's one of my former boss' favorite expressions. Whenever we're faced with challenges in the office, she always reminds us of that phrase.

I'd have to agree. Life gets better everyday... if you're looking at it positively. Glass full, not empty.
My friends always referred to me as the "pensive" one. I worry and whine a lot. I complain before I even get to look at the whole picture.

When I became a trainer, we had to discuss empathy, rapport and positive scripting. Those are my weaknesses. I'm no good at making small talks. Never.

I was always coached on focusing on the "can do" attitude. Instead of focusing on what you CANNOT do, focus on what you CAN do to help.

In the past few weeks, especially ever since I started practicing yoga, I've noticed a few changes in my lifestyle. I am not sure if it's really because of yoga, but I seem to have mellowed out. I complain less and I sleep and wake up a whole lot better.

And more importantly, I'm learning to look at life in a more positive manner.

Good job, good job.
DSCF4166 I’m learning to love myself more… and pampering myself even more. ;)
The same idea goes with cooking and baking, I think. The more I cook and bake, the better I become at what I do. Yesterday I even told myself that I have talent -- simply because I have two left feet and I can't carry a note. I sometimes can't distinguish right from left. Seriously!

So I realized, there's something I am good at, other than eating, of course.

Today, I proved myself right -- I tried to bake oatmeal walnut cookies without a recipe. I just followed my gut and threw whatever ingredient I wanted right in the batter.


The result? Delicious. Not too sweet, not too nutty. They're crispy yet chewy at the same time. Perfectly balanced... and healthy!

Of course, it's fairly similar to any cookie recipe... but it's still my own.

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies 
1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tbsp baking soda
pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
a handful of peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used Callebaut) 
Preheat oven 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
In another bowl, mix together nuts and chocolate chips, set aside. 
In a large bowl, whisk together sugars and melted butter until combined. Add egg and vanilla, beat until incorporated. Stir in flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. 
Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet/s, about two inches apart. I used a small ice cream scooper to get uniform sizes. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and cookies are slightly set.

It’s almost my birthday… should I give away some baked goodies? Hmmm.


The View.


cupcake project | 07: vanilla cupcakes for two.

Well, hello there, dear friends.

I have noticed that my statistics has gone up lately, I am not sure why and who my readers are, but really… Thank you for dropping by. I am so glad that you have come across my little niche in the big web.

My blog has been utterly neglected in the past few days (again), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any new stuff to share. Truth be told, there are a lot! I just don’t know how to process them… yet.

If you’ve been following this blog, you would probably know that I have an on-and-off relationship with writing. As of the moment, let’s just say we are on the “not-talking-cool-off-muna-tayo” stage. In a gist, inspiration has flown out the window for now.

Today, I mustered enough willpower to write because there are just a lot of things lined up on my to-do list and I am not in the mood to work. How easy to say… but hard to do. Heh.

Last Saturday, I attended an event sponsored by Coke and Araneta Center – the Coca Cola Caravan and Giant Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. I have yet to finish my post about it –- I don’t know where to start! I am still overwhelmed by the whole experience. If want the deets, you can hop on to Krissy’s site – she was too kind to have invited me! Thanks, dear! :)

DSCF4110 Christmas came a wee bit early.


26 Wishes for my 26th Year

I’m turning 26 in a few weeks. I feel pretty old. Haha.

For as long as I can remember, wishlists have always been a part of my birthday celebration. If you can ever call it a celebration, that is.

This year, I came up with 26 wishes and I am giving myself until November 30, 2012 to complete them. Such a feat, I know.


Yoga and the Start of Something New.

Today marked the start of something new in my life.

I decided to attend a yoga class. I've  long wanted to try a formal yoga session, but I guess my reservations got the better of me. A few weeks back, I purchased a voucher for one-week unlimited sessions at around 70% off the market value.

Last week I started practicing sleep yoga to help me sleep better, and to be fair, it did work wonders for me. That was my sign to grab my butt off my bed and head out the door to go to the studio -- even though it's a 20-minute cab ride away from my apartment.

I've never tried yoga before. The closest thing I got to practicing it would probably be my stretching class when I was a freshman in college. I decided to leave my expectations and reservations out the door and just enjoy the experience.

The class was at 7:00 AM, I barely had sleep the night before, but I was up and about before the sun has risen. Yes, I was THAT excited... and scared shitless. ;)

I was the first one to arrive at the studio and then shortly after, the instructor arrived. I was amazed at how friendly and accommodating he was. We went to the same University, he graduated when I was just about to enter college. He also earned his Law degree in the same University. To cut the story short, he quit his law practice and started to focus full time on teaching yoga.

"Wow, you're doing what you love to do." I said.

He replied, "I always thought it's just a Hallmark greeting card -- If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

And then we started our session. 75 minutes has never felt so short. I didn't feel tired. I felt rejuvenated. Alive and stress-free.

I felt freedom, this could really be the start of something new.
*** I attended the Yoga Basics class of Marc at Beyond Yoga.


chocolate crinkles, version 2.

I couldn't get over the success of yesterday's baking attempt that I baked another batch using a different recipe.

The first batch of chocolate crinkles were all gone when I brought it to work, so I thought baking a bigger batch wouldn't hurt.

I was right all along. I brought 24 cookies and more than half of them were gone in less than an hour.

They must be utterly delicious.

Definitely. How can you go wrong with a sinful combination of dark chocolate and dark cocoa powder?

You cannot go wrong. I bet you that.

This batch came out more beautiful than yesterday's -- puffier, chewier and chocolatier. Can anything get better than that?
DSCF4053Aren’t they beautiful? 


chocolate crinkles, version 1.

When I was a little girl, spending summers in my Lolo and Lola’s (grandpa and grandma) house in Malaybalay, Bukidnon were a must. Summer vacations are never complete without the “mandatory” visit. It was like a routine, except that it wasn’t boring. We were always woken up at 6:00 am to have a steaming mug of Milo and my cousins and I would compete with each other as to who finishes first. Never minding if it would result to having scalded tongues. We would go back to sleep afterwards. When we’re finally awake, we play the usual “bahay-bahayan” or card games. If not, we intently watch Lolo Max play Solitaire. We always looked forward to reading the Sunday paper to solve the “Spot the Difference” puzzle. In the afternoon, we’d play patintero, bulan-bulan, tag, piko, tumbang-preso, luksong tinik, and jack stones with our neighbors. We also sneak out and take a bath in the nearest spring but we always make sure to be home before 5:00 PM lest Lolo would find out. Haha.

When Lolo got sicker because of his emphysema, he was brought to Cagayan de Oro so that there’s easier access to healthcare. My Mom’s sisters are doctors (plus one a nurse), after all. When that happened, summers in Malaybalay stopped, but we still spent it with Lolo and Lola. At that time, Lola was helping out one of my aunt’s businesses – a bakery. We also helped, we were the ones who gave the customers their orders and one of us was tasked to be the cashier (that’s one of my “dream jobs” when I was a kid!).

After a day at the bakery, I would always look forward to eating some of the breads and pastries we sell. One of my favorite items was chocolate crinkles. I really don’t know why, maybe because it looked so appealing?

When I started baking last year, one of my very first projects was baking chocolate crinkles… which failed big time. I haven’t tried baking it again until today. I was kind of hesitant to give it another try, but I thought, “If I can bake cupcakes with such ease, why can’t I try crinkles again?

Try I did. And I am so glad it came out beautifully.


Muffin Monday: Banana Citrus Muffins with Coconut Flakes

I am writing this post on a Sunday night. In an hour it’s officially Monday. I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to be positive, I sometimes despise Mondays. It means that the weekend is officially over and there’s another workweek ahead. There are a lot of times that I just have to force myself out of bed and drag my lazy ass to work. That’s like 3 out of 5 days.

I’d like to think this is just a phase, quarter-life crisis maybe? Is it burnout? Stress? I really don’t know. It’s just that I haven’t felt this in a long time. When I was still in my previous job, I always looked forward to going to work. I loved what I did... Now? I can’t really say that, but if my life depended on it, fine.. I (gulp) love (gulp) my (gulp) job.

It’s a lot like love. No, not the movie, dummy.

Maybe you’re in the same situation as I am. What did you do? A friend said on Twitter to just “Let go.” There’s no point in staying if you’re not happy, right? Holding on to something that doesn’t give you the fulfillment you’re looking for is just futile.

So easy to say, but so hard to do.

Anyway, if you’re feeling a little blue, I have an antidote for you: a pop or two of these wonderful muffins would make you forget about the dreariness of Mondays.


homemade peanut butter.

Nothing beats anything homemade.

Homemade cakes, pastries, chocolate… they’re my guilty pleasure. I am always on the lookout for appetizing recipes online. This blog breathes everything I whip up in my own kitchen.

For the past three or four months, I have been enjoying peanut butter I made myself. My kitchen addiction has completely taken a whole new level. Haha.

I’ve been trying to make peanut butter since last year, but for some reason I was only successful a few months back.

It’s really easy. It just takes less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Sounds easy, right?



baked red velvet cake doughnuts.

I have been searching high and low for a non-yeast doughnut recipe. I have tried a couple and they never turn out the way they should be. It’s so frustrating. Really.

Over the past few days, I have tried to great recipes. I made my first successful batch non-yeast [plain] doughnuts over the weekend. They turned out very very well when fried. I tried baking them, they were still good… but it looked and felt like bread! I was still happy, though. The only problem I encountered is that I DID NOT TAKE ANY PICTURES. Bummer! [Must make another batch soon.]

So let me tell you about another doughnut recipe. Better than the first successful batch. They were cake-like. With chocolate. And it’s red velvet!

How cool is that?

Mighty cool, yeah.

Let the photos do the talking…


 DSCF3955 DSCF3956 DSCF3953

BC Bloggers 2011.

I have read about BC Bloggers before. I forgot where exactly, but what I wanted to know then was how to join in the “fun.” Good thing I stumbled upon Vera’s blog. Now I can finally join!

So, what exactly is BC Bloggers? Here’s an excerpt from Paula’s, the founder, blog.

BC Bloggers have been helping bloggers fill their blogrolls the fast and easy way. 
Here at BC Bloggers our motto is, “We don’t have to beg for links.” 
New bloggers have found us to be a great tool in putting their blogs on the “map” so to speak. 
Bloggers who are earning from blogs know too well not to neglect their blogs. You can gain backlinks by commenting but most of them are no follow so this is rather a hit and miss. 
All our blogrolls do follow and are linked to the homepage  so if you are a blogger who care about your blog you would want to be included there.
When I read that, I knew I wanted to be in. I am a blogger – not the big shot kind of blogger. But I blog. And of course, I want to be “on the map” and I certainly want to earn from my blog!

Isn’t that a good thing? Hell yeah!

What are you waiting for? Come and join the fun here!


Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: [Slow Cooker] Pepper Steak

In an ideal world, I would have all the fancy kitchen and baking equipment that could rival any celebrity chef’s kitchen. I would have a spacious but minimalist kitchen with a big work counter/island in the middle. I would also have a large gas (yes, I’d still prefer gas over electric) range that could fit six pots in one go. And oh, I’d have an oven big enough for two or maybe three? 12-cup muffin pans in one layer. And let’s not forget that shiny dishwasher that would help make cleaning up a breeze. Oh, the life!

How I wish I have all that and more. In the real world, I don’t have any of those. I live in an apartment big enough for two people. My kitchen is cramped with the dish rack, cooking utensils, my small oven, the gas stove, you get the picture. My cupboard has the same dilemma. Aside from space issues, I have an unending “want-to-buy” list:  a “real” food processor (I only have a trusty blender at my perusal), a bigger oven (mine can only fit 6-cup muffin pan or a small cookie sheet), an ice cream maker, and a KitchenAid stand mixer. I thought that’s everything I could ever want in the cooking and baking department… I thought wrong.

When I joined Jamie and Katie’s Holiday Recipe Exchange, I knew I’d come across some issues. This week, for example, we are featuring slow cooker or crock pot recipes. I didn’t have a crock pot, but I do have a recipe I wanted to try. Hmm, what should a poor girl do, then? Improvise, I thought to myself. I browsed some sites and most of them said cooking or baking in a dutch oven could do the trick. But… I didn’t have a dutch oven! Just when I was about to give up, I thought of using the pot I normally use for cooking rice. It looks like this:

We call that “kaldero” in Filipino. I think it’s derived from the English word cauldron, and it’s usually made of metal, aluminum or stainless steel.

I guess using the kaldero paid off well. My beef came out very tender and the flavors married fairly well. If it’s already this tasty, what more if I used a crock pot? The answer would have to wait until I get my own… but till then, I’ll have to make do with what I have.



Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: Beef Kaldereta

Filipinos love saucy one-pot dishes. When I was growing up, I didn't like my food "wet." I liked my food dry. My Mom or our household help would always prepare fried pork, chicken, beef, anything just to make me eat. 

If the food served doesn't look familiar to me, I refuse to eat it. My Dad always tells me to try before judging. He was right.

One day, he had me try Osso Bucco for the first time. I was a bit skeptical. I didn't know what it was. But when I had my first bite, oh my goodness, it was good.

When I was in my teens, I learned to appreciate food -- real food. I quickly learned that frying is not the only way to cook food.

This week's Holiday Recipe Exchange theme is "Fall One Pot Dishes" sponsored by Le Creuset. All I could think of was "It's gotta be saucy!" And there was only one dish that came to mind: Beef Kaldereta.

Kaldereta is a classic Filipino dish. It's basically stewed meat (beef, pork, chicken -- whatever your preference is) with spicy tomato sauce. The recipe varies depending on who cooks the dish. For a quick fix, there are one-pack mixes -- just dilute the mix in water, saute your choice of meat with garlic, onion, and tomatoes, add the mix and let the sauce simmer. But then that won't be the same kaldereta.

I gotta have the real thing.



Muffin Monday: Cheese and Olive Oil Muffins

It’s been four weeks since I joined Muffin Monday. That’s three muffins down and another one on the way. I admit, baking muffins for Monday is always a welcome treat. In my case, I bake during the weekend, usually on Sundays just before the crack of dawn. It’s becoming a ritual, the good kind. It means I get to eat “healthier” at least twice a week. Heh.

Today’s muffin is from one of my favorite Food Network chefs, Giada de Laurentiis. The recipe is totally easy – I made it in less than 30 minutes, and not to mention totally delicious and filling!


Cheese and Olive Oil MuffinsAdapted from Giada de Laurentiis' recipe on Food Network  
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup cheddar and gouda cheese, mixed
Powdered sugar, sifted, for topping  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.  
In a medium bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  
Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  
Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil.  
Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.  
Crush the almonds with your hands as you add them to the batter and stir until mixed.  
Fill the muffin tin almost to the top of the paper liners.  
Bake until golden on top and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  
Remove the muffins onto a platter and let cool for 5 more minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the muffins and serve.


  • I used red cane vinegar in place of the balsamic vinegar.
  • I used peanuts in place of almonds. I bet they’d be tastier with almonds.
  • I didn’t have orange and lemon on hand, so I used 2 teaspoons of calamansi juice instead. Calamansi or calamondin is easily available here in the Philippines. It's like our lemon/lime. In our dialect, Bisaya, we call it limonsito which literally means "little lemon." Goes well with almost everything, especially dipping sauces!
  • I added about 1/3 cup cheddar and gouda cheese.
  • And I totally forgot to sprinkle powdered sugar before serving and taking a picture of them. They were still to die for, though. ;) 
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.


Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites

I am having so much fun joining themed blog round-ups lately... There's Muffin Monday and Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies. And today, I am posting something for Holiday Recipe Exchange hosted by My Baking Addiction and Good Life Eats.

This week's theme is chocolate sponsored by  Scharffen Berger. Can't anything get better than that?

I don't think so! Well.. I love chocolate and I can never say no to a chocolate challenge.

Last week, I made triple chocolate brownie bites.

Chocolate indulgence at its finest. Hmm.

* I know this week is sponsored by Scharffen Berger, but since I can't find that where I live, I just used what I had on hand. *


Triple-Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 pieces tablea / native cocoa tablets, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour  
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter/spray an 8x8in pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-in overhang. Butter the paper again. Set aside.  
In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.  
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread into the corners, and level the surface with a rubber spatula. 
Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes.   
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares.  
Makes 16 2-in brownies. 

Brownie Bites
loosely adapted from Bakerella  
8 pieces triple chocolate brownies
1/3 cup store-bought frosting, I used vanilla buttercream frosting (you can use any kind of creamy frosting)
1 cup chocolate melts / chocolate chips
lollipop sticks, optional  
In a medium bowl, break brownie pieces until fine. Mix in frosting and mash. You can use a fork or your CLEAN hands. ;) Everything should come together and when rolled, should not break apart. If you put too much frosting, you can add more brownies. If too dry, add a bit of frosting.  
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  
Scoop or roll into 1-inch balls and set on a baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  
Once the brownie balls have set, melt chocolate melts/chips (you can use the microwave or a double boiler). Stir constantly using a rubber spatula.  
Remove brownie balls from the fridge. If you're using lollipop sticks, dip pointed part into the melted chocolate and stick into the chilled brownie bites, about 3/4 way through.  
Freeze for 5-10 minutes. (I know, making these would test your patience... but you will be rewarded. I promise!) Skip this part if you’re not using lollipop sticks.  
Roll balls in melted chocolate and lay on wax paper until chocolate is firm. If you’re not using lollipop sticks, you can use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate. 
Tap off extra.  
You can use sprinkles or pipe frosting for garnish. I made them plain.  
Dig in… and indulge.


Week 2 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies: Marble Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

I have (once again) joined a weekly blog round-up. This time it’s for Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies hosted by Brenda. The blog hop started last week, that’s why the title says “Week 2” even though it’s technically my first week. Heh.

But I’m still late. This should have been posted yesterday.

Enough with the explanations. Let’s get down to business.

I’ve been thinking hard and long of what to post for this week’s cookie or sweet… I’ve baked a couple of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, double fudge Oreo crunch cookies, and cupcakes this week. But I can’t post all of them cos I’ve already blogged about them. And besides, I think I’m just cheating myself if I go that way. Buuuut… I didn’t have enough time to whip up (or experiment?) a new recipe – I’ve lots that I want to try!

When I woke up today, I still had that question in my mind - "What do I post? It's already Friday!"

Then... A light bulb struck me -- I still had two separate cookie dough sitting in my fridge. Chocolate chip and double fudge Oreo cookies, Hmm. Why don't I combine them to make one awesome cookie?

Why not?!

It's ultimate chocolate indulgence. If you hop on over to the recipes, you'd notice each cookie recipe already has more than its fair share of chocolate. Cocoa powder, Oreo cookies, almost more than 3 cups of chocolate chips...

Mix them together -- that's too much chocolate!

But one can never have too much chocolate, right?

I didn’t know what to call them until I started writing this post… but after looking at the photo above, I think it fits.
Marble Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies 
For the Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookie base
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies 
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mix until combined. 
Fold in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos. 
Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). 
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie base
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
In a medium bowl, cream together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.  
Mix in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and  beat until light and creamy. Add in flour mixture until just blended. 
Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. 
Chill the dough for at least an hour.  
Assembly and Baking
When ready to bake, take out the two cookie dough.  Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Scoop about one teaspoon of double fudge Oreo cookie dough then stuff the scooper with the chocolate chip cookie dough. You can also do it the other way around. What we want is both cookie dough to be rolled into one ball. You can also scoop bigger sizes. 
If you're baking small cookies, bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are set. If you're baking bigger cookies, bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. 
Best enjoyed with a glass of milk.
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Be sure to visit all the other bloggers shown below to see what they’ve baked up today yesterday!


Muffin Monday: Zucchini Chocolate Muffin with Sesame Seeds and Chocolate Chips

When An sent the email for this week's muffin recipe, I literally had to force myself to read through everything. As I have already mentioned last week, I am not fond of carrots.. and well, let me set things straight. I am not fond of a lot of vegetables. Shameful as it is, in my 25 years of existence, I have only learned to appreciate vegetables about 6 or so years ago.

So, just like last week's recipe, I decided to face this challenge head on... with a few modifications, of course. Heh.

I honestly can't remember the last time I ate a zucchini. I don't know how it tastes, really. But I knew for a fact (thanks, Google!) that it goes well with chocolate. Who can say no to chocolate goodness? Definitely not me. ;)


Look how festive it looks. I’m getting ready for Christmas, isn’t that obvious? ;)
Zucchini Chocolate Muffin with Sesame Seeds and Chocolate ChipsLoosely adapted from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins  
1 small zucchini, grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 200C. Line muffin pan with baking cups.
In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In another bowl, whisk together zucchini, sugar and wet ingredients. Carefully pour over dry ingredients. Whisk until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. 

Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Recipe makes 4-6 muffins. 
I am glad to have made these muffins. Everything came together beautifully. The spices complemented the chocolate really well and the sesame seeds gave an unexpected crunch. 
I have to say that this goes to my list of holiday muffins. :)


Muffin Monday: Carrot Spice Wheat Bran Muffins

The signal in my apartment is just getting on my nerves. I can’t get decent internet, mobile and even television signal.

it’s just so frustrating. Have you ever experienced times like this? Like you want to scream your lungs out or even rip the nearest thing that you can get your hands on. At the moment, I can’t even upload the photos for this post. Talk about inconvenient!

Anyway, Mondays are not made for frustrations or bad vibes but for muffins like this one! Do you agree? Say “AYE!”


If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, having these for breakfast would definitely turn your mood around. Who said nutritious can’t be delicious? I’ll feed you one of these muffins, and you’ll be a convert! ;)

Okay, that didn’t sound like me at all. See, I am not really fond of carrots. If they’re part of any meal, expect them to be left untouched. My Mom always made the best carrot cake, but I never really learned to loved it.

So just imagine how hard it was for me to start baking these muffins. I’m glad I did, though, as these were really tasty… and didn’t taste like carrots. At all.


Carrot Spice Wheat Bran MuffinsAdapted from Whole Foods For The Whole Family by LaLeche League International Cookbook  
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts  
For the topping
1/4 cup brown sugar mixed with
1 tbsp cinnamon  
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.  
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients- flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice.  
In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients- honey/brown sugar, egg, buttermilk/yogurt, oil, vanilla and the carrots, raisins and nuts.  
Gently mix wet and dry ingredients together until just moistened.  
Spoon/scoop batter into prepared muffin pan then top with a teaspoon or so of cinnamon topping.  
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  
  • I didn't have whole wheat flour available so I subbed it with 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup wheat bran flakes (I used the cereal kind).
  • I used grated and minced carrots.
  • I used skim milk mised with a teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • They came out a bit crumbly, I might add a little more oil and milk next time.
  • VERDICT: I never thought carrots can be this tasty!


Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.



I am writing this post on my Android phone via the Blogger-droid app.

How cool is that?! :)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Muffin Monday: Jam-filled Muffins

I have been meaning to join several weekly blog round-ups like Tuesdays with Dorie and Sweet Melissa Sundays. I think it’s  a good way to expand my baking portfolio, if there’s such a thing as that. It would greatly help me conquer my baking and kitchen fears and push me to go up a notch. The only problem I had was that these communities had one main requirement: that you own the cookbooks that inspired them. I certainly don’t mind buying these books, but you know how much they cost nowadays, it would definitely burn a hole in my pocket. Maybe next time, I thought.

So just imagine my joy when I stumbled upon a blog last week which was part of a weekly round-up that didn’t require cookbooks. Oh what sheer luck! I quickly dropped a line to the administrator’s mailbox and waited. I got “approved” in less than 24 hours and well, the rest is history. Haha.

This is my first post for Muffin Monday. Thanks, Anuradha, for accepting me in. And thanks for such an easy recipe for this week. ;)

Okay, so yes, it is an easy one but like my other adventures, it definitely didn’t go without a hitch. My muffin lovelies would’ve turned out waaaay better had I not overfilled the muffin wells.

I should know better, right? I’ve been baking cupcakes for almost a year now. I should’ve known. Oh well, that’s the beauty of these kitchen adventures – you learn from them. And move on…

I think they still turned out great, you be the judge. :)

Jam Filled MuffinsTaken from AllRecipes 
1 3/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup jam – I used guava and a locally-produced coconut jam 
Preheat the oven to 400F  
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  
In another bowl, lightly beat eggs, milk, butter and lemon rind.  
Pour into the dry ingredients and the stir until moistened.  
Spoon half batter, make a well, add jam, spoon the remaining batter and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden.
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Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

  • I halved the recipe and got 6 muffins. Get the recipe converter here.
  • Looking back now, I think I knew where I messed up – didn’t make a well after I poured the first half of the batter, I literally just plopped the jam over. MY BAD.
  • VERDICT: They’re absolutely awesome.

I really still can’t get over my boo-boo today. I really should know better.

PS. A big thanks to Annapet, I saw Muffin Monday on her blog that fateful Wednesday last week. ;)


double fudge oreo crunch cookies.

It's been a month and I still have not posted anything substantial. I miss writing. I miss baking and taking photos of the what I bake.

I have not gone into a baking coma, it's just that I have a lot of things up my sleeve and have not had the time to update my tiny space in the WWW.

Anyway, since I am not my best self today, I decided to go over some photos saved in my drive to check if there are anything worth posting.

I have baked cookies back to back in the past four weeks, however, I have not snapped any good photos of them. TSK.

But I can't let the opportunity pass, can I? Definitely not.

I have seen these lovely Double Fudge Oreo Crunch cookies over at Jessica's site last month and have since made them weekly, sometimes even daily.

My batch came out darker than her recipe, I guess that's because I crushed the Oreo cookies way too much. But it was still delightful, to say the least.

I am posting her original recipe here -- I followed it to a T, no substitutions or anything. ;)

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies 
Taken from How Sweet It Is  
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos.

Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls or scoop with an ice cream scooper and set on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. 


hey, ho.

Hello friends. I know, I know.. I haven’t been blogging for almost a month now. Wait, what..? Has it been that long?

My prolonged absence doesn’t equally equate to not having cooked or baked recently. Not at all. In fact, I have been trying out quite a lot of recipes from blogs I have been following. In the past two (or maybe three) weeks I have probably tried out a handful of recipes from one of my favorite food bloggers, Jessica from How Sweet It Is… I just haven’t had the time to write. Really.

C360_2011-07-31 22-32-19

Pixie (my camera) and my still unnamed phone (a Samsung Galaxy SL) have too many photos of food and places I have yet to write about. Talk about backlog. Good thing I am not blogging for money, although I want to (can someone teach me how?), else I’ll be dead meat by now for not meeting deadlines.

Anyway, all I really want to say is that… Yes, I am still very much alive, though not too obvious in this part of the world wide web.

C360_2011-08-05 23-41-41

Stay tuned for recipes I’ll be posting soon. Hands up if you want a taste (or sneak peek) of any of these:
  • Baked Egg Cups
  • Big Fat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Tablea Chocolate Cake – not a cupcake, a REAL cake!
  • Double Fudge Oreo Cookies
  • Hot Fudge Chocolate Cupcakes
  • (It Should Have Been a) Shrimp Tempura

C360_2011-07-29 11-06-35

See, I told you I’ve been doing my homework!

I’ll be back soon, I promise! :)


photo project | 17: Ginger Ale Tea.

Ginger tea with honey and lemon in lomo. 

Effectively calms my sick throat. Ahh, love, this one is.

the best chocolate chip cookie. ever.

This time I can be confident in saying that I have finally found the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.


I’ve had the recipe tucked away in my trusty pink notebook for weeks, probably months, but never had the time to test it out. Oh wait, let me edit that.. I was just too scared to try. I’ve had my fair share of flat, sticky non-cookie-looking-and-tasting cookies.

Thank God I’ve finally gotten over that phase. I can now bake as many chocolate chip cookies as I want! Hurrah!

I got the recipe from Kim of Lovin’ from the Oven, I tweeted her some few months ago if she can recommend a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. And boy did she give me one! She replied back with a link to her favorite cookie recipe, which incidentally is the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. (I can’t for the life of me view the recipe from their site cos you need to register – and the registration isn’t free!)

If you’re looking for a great chocolate chop cookie recipe, look no further – this is it! It’s perfectly crisp on the outside yet soft and chewy inside. I love the texture and play of flavors… Ah, I’m just in love with it!

Playing with Retro and Lomo
functions on my phone.

And oh, the best thing about this recipe? No mixer needed! All you need is a wire whisk, wooden spoon, and a mixing bowl. Awesome, yeah?

Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie  
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  
In a medium bowl, cream together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.   
Mix in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and  beat until light and creamy. Add in flour mixture until just blended.  
Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon.  
Chill the dough for at least an hour.   
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F. Scoop cookie dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment. Cookies should be 2-3 inches apart.   
If you're baking small cookies, bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. If you're baking bigger cookies, bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Check the recipe here.


cupcake project | 06: flour bakery’s chocolate cupcake

What? I’m back to my chocolate obsession?!

Yes, yes, yes. A resounding yes!

I figured that although I have a good dark chocolate cupcake recipe and a go-to devil’s food cupcake recipe, I still haven’t found my go-to chocolate cupcake aka the BEST chocolate cupcake recipe yet.
So, on with my search for the best. I stumbled upon two recipes yesterday – Hummingbird Bakery (recipe here) and Flour Bakery’s (recipe here) chocolate cupcakes.

I really had a hard time choosing which recipe to try last night, and well, you have probably guessed by now, Flour Bakery’s recipe won. I chose it cos it uses unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder, not just one of the two. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you also probably know by now that I have a blossoming love affair with tablea.

Knowing that I can use both regular baking chocolate and tablea for this recipe… I’m SOLD!

I love how the cupcakes turned out – moist, dark, chocolate-y and delicious. All of that even without frosting! It totally melts in your mouth.

Now, just a disclaimer. This is just for me, ‘kay? I’ve tried a lot of recipes which got rave reviews but some of them didn’t wow me. This may also be the case for any of you who want to try the recipe –- it may or may not work. That’s the fun and challenging part! :)

For the frosting, I decided to use my chocolate frosting recipe with a few changes.

Want the recipe? Here you go.
Flour Bakery's Chocolate CupcakeAdapted from Three Clever Sisters  
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 pcs tablea, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg + 1 yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt  
Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. The recipe said it makes 12 cupcakes, I got 18. Haha.  
In a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate, tablea and cocoa powder.   
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  
Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Let cool. When bowl is no longer hot, just a little warm, whisk the milk, egg, extra yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until combined.  
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.  Let the batter sit at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  
[I was impatient, I refrigerated the batter for about an hour and proceeded to baking. The batter wasn't as thick compared to Three Clever Sisters'.]  
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. 
Chocolate Frosting  
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or a mix of chocolate melts, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate), melted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk, as needed  
Whisk powdered sugar and cocoa powder together.  
In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until blended. Add in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add in milk one tablespoon at a time. Beat until desired consistency is reached.  
* If frosting is too thin, add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar at a time. If too thick, add 1-2 tsp milk at a time.
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